Canadians ALVVAYS open up tonight’s show and immediately impress the quickly swelling Tuesday night crowd. The five-piece delight in looking and sounding like the best teenage rom com never made. All the stereotypes are there but combining wonderfully to make something that thoroughly transcends any prejudicial first impressions. Subtle synth sounds underlie irresistible pop guitar hooks to sweetly highlight pintsized singer Holly Rankin’s soaring vocals. Next Of Kin is a set highlight and these rising stars do everything they need to to enamour themselves to this refreshingly engaged gathering of musos.
Some bands sound exactly like where they’re from, their music intrinsically linked with their surrounds, both reflecting it and explaining it: Joy Division wrought urban decay in their doomed din, while Creedence Clearwater Revival delivered a slice of southern States small-town life via their countrified rock, but other bands use music as an escape. REAL ESTATE come from the tough blue-collar state, New Jersey (albeit a rather quaint suburb), from which its famous tough-guy forebears Frank Sinatra, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen drew strength in the face of life’s claustrophobia. Real Estate are very much from the other side of music’s geographical coin.
It’s impossible not to listen to the four-piece’s breezy tunes and not imagine driving down a West Coast palm tree-lined boulevard with the sun shimmering on the bonnet as lead guitarist Matt Mondaline’s flourishes wash over a packed-out Kazimier tonight. There’s sheer joy in this music rather than resistance to the daily grind. And it’s lapped up by the Liverpool crowd.
The majority of tonight’s set comes from the band’s last two albums: Days and this year’s flawless Atlas. The interplay between Mondaline and frontman Martin Courtney’s guitars is mesmeric, while bassist Alex Bleeker (who at least looks like a New Jersey roughnik) is charming whilst adding the occasional hooky bassline. Real Estate as a package are charm personified; Bleeker’s quip about Clinic being the sum total of Liverpool’s musical heritage is received in the spirit it was delivered, whilst Courtney’s dialogue is limited but sincere.
The crowd’s demands for their solid set to be followed by an encore are met as the band return to the stage to play Out Of Tune and It’s Real before parting with the crowd as they are transported from California to a damp Wolstenholme Square.